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The Killers

The Criterion Collection, Special Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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(Feb 18, 2003)
The Criterion Collection
2
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two hit men have an order to kill a seemingly mild-mannered schoolteacher and they find out the victim was involved in an armored car heist years back as well as a love triangle involving the girlfriend of a major mob figure.

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The Killers (1946)
This 1946 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's short story adds well over an hour of new material to the original tale. The reason is, while director Robert Siodmak, star Burt Lancaster, and an outstanding supporting cast are faithful to Hemingway's work, his story only takes up about 15 minutes of screen time. Burt Lancaster plays the doomed man sought by hired guns in a small town. Hemingway's bruisingly concise dialogue makes an early sequence set in a diner quite unnerving, but after the killers dispense with their prey, Siodmak turns to an insurance investigator (Edmond O'Brien) who looks into the reasons behind the murder. An exemplary film noir (complete with a fickle femme fatale played by Ava Gardner), The Killers is all mood and fatalism.

The Killers (1964)
The 1964 remake (of sorts) by Don Siegel builds another whole world around Hemingway's narrow, if intense, premise. The two assassins of Siegel's film (Clu Gulager, Lee Marvin) go in search of their intended victim--a teacher (John Cassavetes) at a school for the blind--and find that he not only recognizes his fate when they show up, but seems entirely resigned to it. Curiosity leads the killers to seek out the party who hired them and discover why Cassavetes's character didn't run or fight. Soon the facts tumble into place--the dead man had once been a top-drawer racer who fell for a glamorous woman (Angie Dickinson), the latter gradually pulling him into the orbit of a criminal villain (a convincingly evil Ronald Reagan)--and the film becomes increasingly dark and dangerous. Originally shot for television but rejected for its violence, Siegel's film is a blistering experience of swimming against the currents of fate for one's survival--and losing. --Tom Keogh


Special features

  • Features for The Killers (1946 Version):
  • New digital transfer
  • Andriie Tarkovsky's 1956 student film version of The Killers
  • Video interview with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky
  • Screen Director's Playhouse 1949 radio adaptation, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters
  • Actor Stacy Keach reads Hemingway's short story
  • Production and publicity stills
  • Essay by Jonathan Lethem
  • Paul Schrader's seminal 1972 essay "notes on film noir"
  • Music and effects track
  • Features for The Killers (1964 Version):
  • Reflections by star Clu Gulager
  • Excerpts from Don Siegel's autobiography
  • Production correspondence including memos, broadcast standard reports, and casting suggestions
  • Essay by Geoffrey O'Brien

Product details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
  • Directors: Robert Siodmak
  • Writers: Anthony Veiller, Ernest Hemingway, John Huston, Richard Brooks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 198 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00007ELDG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,004 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "The Killers (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

78 customer reviews

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